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How to create an employee development plan

4 minute read

A good employee development plan is, well, exactly that: a plan for the employee, owned by the employee. It should be the start of an ongoing conversation about what they want to get out of their role – with your help and support.

Of course you can’t promise the moon, but you can and should encourage them to share their goals and aspirations. Let them take the lead and you can gently guide the conversation in line with where your business is going and how your employee fits into that vision.

Depending on your type of business, it might be useful to set up a formal development plan or a verbal agreement. In either case, here are some suggested things to think about when developing employee goals.

Your employee development Plan (PDF 433KB)

Key take-outs

  • Employee development empowers your people and powers your business.
  • Let your employees own their plan – your job is to guide them rather than dictate.
  • Focus on open, ongoing conversations instead of expensive training.

Some planning tips.

  • Book in monthly catch-ups with your manager to talk about progress and any blockers.
  • Review your plan with your manager every three months – what’s working for you and what’s not?
  • Are some of your goals proving tricky to meet? Think about how you might break them down into smaller achievements – you might find you tick them off faster.

Part 1: Your strengths and opportunities.

What are your strengths?

What has gone well in the past year? Where do you feel you made the most progress? Think about the things that have helped you feel confident about what you do.

What could you develop?

Which interests or abilities would you like to explore? Which new or improved skills would help you develop – and why? What’s the best way for you to learn?

What opportunities could you focus on?

Where would they like more responsibility? Are there any areas they need more experience in?

What could make your development difficult?

Has anything hindered your progress? Would you do anything differently? Consider whether additional support, such as shadowing a more experienced team member, would help.

Part 2: Setting goals.

What do you want to achieve?

Use the development areas you talked about in ‘Part 1: Your strengths and opportunities’ as prompts here – how do your answers translate into tangible goals? Then list these in order of priority.

How will you achieve this?

What steps will you and your manager take to make progress? Are there any responsibilities or tasks you could be given to broaden your experience? Could anyone outside the business help?

What support will you need?

List any training materials, courses or conferences that could help. Also think about any time needed for development opportunities.

How will you know you’ve succeeded?

How will you measure your progress? Think about feedback and assessments here.

When will this be done?

Choose dates within the next year to aim for. Be careful to make sure they are realistic.

Part 3: Reviewing this plan.

When should this plan be reviewed?

Evaluate how this plan is working at least every three months, as part of your progress review. As well as checking in on your progress, you need to make sure your plan is still relevant.

What has worked well?

Don’t forget to talk about your wins and how you overcame challenges.

What could have been better?

What blockers have you come up against? How can your manager help you get around these?

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Things you should know

This article is a general overview and should be used as a guide only. We recommend that you seek independent professional advice about your specific circumstances before acting. Westpac Banking Corporation ABN 33 007 457 141. AFSL and Australian credit number 233714